July 22, 2023
Today was hard. David is at the beach with his new [insert appropriate noun here]. I don’t know what the appropriate noun is, and I don’t want to know.
I whine to my friends, and I run through all the ways in which David and I were quite horribly wrong for one another. It takes me anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to run through the list; it is not short. And then, after all that, and hearing from my friends how much better it is David and I are “just friends”, nothing more, and after telling myself that umpteen times an hour, I still feel really sick and sad. Why?
I think I hit it on the nail earlier today.
I’ve done the work. I am far more deserving of a partner than David. He just has to be a man and show up online, and he gets matches. Well, I do too, for that matter, but I don’t get age-appropriate matches, the kind that might actually turn into a long-term meaningful relationship. But who’s to say David does either? I mean, I was age appropriate, but that’s about it. We were pretty woefully wrong for one another on every other front. Although the relationship was not without great benefit — to both of us. But I don’t want to focus on anything that might actually make me feel better right now. I want to stay stuck feeling sick and sad for a while longer.
Oh my word, I crack my own self up. I really do.
So back to the FACT I am more deserving of a partner than David. Because I have done the work. Lord knows, and everyone knows, because I say it all the time: I HAVE DONE THE WORK! It’s not fair that he meets someone and I don’t. But, as we are all acutely aware from a very very early age, life is not at all fair.
Again, smiling at my own silliness.
It’s really back to that conversation I had with Adrian back in January, which I have graciously copied and pasted for you below, after the first big signs of trouble with David. Ah, I should have seen it and headed this all off back then. But I didn’t. Actually, I saw it. I decided to stay with it a bit longer, see how it might play out. I simply chose to remain hopeful. That is not a bad thing. In fact, I like that about myself.
So, I must conclude, here, that I did my best, and I did good. And David did his best, although his best SUCKED. Nonetheless, we both gave it our best shot. We were both invested in seeing it through to the degree we were able. And in spite of that, it simply didn’t work out. It’s no one’s fault. It just didn’t work out. Most relationships just don’t.
It’s not jealousy I’m struggling with. It’s that whole thing I’ve done at the end of every relationship up until now. Because every relationship up until now has ended. And so, I do that fateful dance once again.
I’m grieving the death of the possibility of something really wonderful. The difference is, I stuck with it long enough to know it would never have been really wonderful.
The sick and the sad will pass. I Persevere. And life goes on.
The conversation with Adrian back in January:
January 23, 2023
I drove to Portland yesterday. Often, when I’m doing that hour and a half drive, I’ll be on the phone with a friend. Yesterday, it was Adrian.
Adrian met someone. They had awesome chemistry, he believed. They spent some time together, had a meal, had a bit of physical, then parted on an upbeat note. That was last week, and Adrian hasn’t heard from him.
Adrian has been saying he’s not ready to get involved, to get serious with anyone, to date exclusively. We talked about how saying things like that is kind of silly, because it’s the person that dictates how you feel and what you want. It’s entirely dependent on the person you meet.
Then we talked about why it hurts so much.
“I think we’re grieving the death of the possibility of something really wonderful,” I said. Adrian agreed.
I spent the afternoon with David, yesterday. We watched the 1928 film, Joan of Arc. The actress was lovely, incredible, and she basically cried the entire 80 minutes. Not basically, she did cry the entire 80 minutes. Joan of Arc is a hero of mine. Not her cause, so much, but the fact she was so young and so certain of her beliefs. She was 19 when she was burned at the stake. Even if you’re not inspired by the spiritual basis of her convictions, it’s impossible not to grieve this child who was sacrificed for the egos of men, in the name of God, who shuns all such violence. I pretty much cried through the whole movie.
I was a bit frustrated with myself for watching the film with David, because I knew full well that would happen. I knew it would put me in a dark, sad place for quite some time after viewing. But we like old movies, he loves the art of them, and I wanted to share that with him. I want to have the ability to detach from the story, to view a film for the sake of its art.
There’s a traffic circle in Portland with a golden statue of Joan of Arc on a horse. It’s become a thing that’s connected us. But I know I can’t watch those kinds of movies without being deeply affected for hours, sometimes days following. It was not a wise thing for me to do, particularly given the status of things between David and me. I’m already fighting a serious melancholy, I’m fighting my natural tendency to fall into the dark of my mind.
After, we went to his Sunday afternoon haunt, the Lucky Horseshoe. He’s particularly fond of Zach, the bartender. It has always been encouraging he wanted to bring me into his Sunday routine. I believed he was proud to be with me, proud for Zach to meet me, to get to know me. Maybe proud isn’t the right word. Pleased to bring me into his circle of familiarity and comfort? I wouldn’t say excited. He doesn’t get excited. Or else he doesn’t show excitement. About music, about film, sometimes. But he’s pretty subdued emotionally. The opposite of me. Regardless, his including me gave our relationship a sense of longevity and permanence.
We both had a bit to drink. I’ve been drinking a bit lately. Not a lot at a time, but a few at a time and more often than usual. It’s not wise for me to drink when we’re on this sort of uncertain ground. But it feels good, alcohol always feels good. But alcohol always opens me up, all the woundings, all the triggers. All the emotions, all the fears that have lain just below the surface of everything the last two weeks, they bubbled up and took over. I was consumed with fear and pain and I cried. Sobbed. It was simply a continuation of the crying watching Joan. Just more pain and sorrow and tears upon tears.
I said a lot of things, things that I’ve thought, some I’ve already said but felt it important to say again.
“I really wanted this. I thought you wanted this too. You did want this too! You told me you did!
I think you’ve were incredibly lonely after your divorce. I think you wanted to be with someone, someone you loved who loved you back. And that happened! And then you realized you liked being single, that you liked your solitude, AND YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND!
Do you realize you have a terminal heart condition? Do you know that? You say twenty years. But have you done the research? Because I have.
I signed up for that! Being my mother’s caregiver, knowing full well what I was signing up for, I still signed up for that! I wanted to be the one! I wanted to be there with you! For you!
[Picture me wildly gesticulating — pointing at my signature on an imaginary contract in the air front of us.]
I SIGNED UP FOR THAT! LOOK! DO YOU SEE MY NAME RIGHT THERE? I SIGNED UP FOR THAT!”
And then, finally:
“Don’t you see I have to break up with you? Don’t you see that?”
You have to be true to yourself. I want nothing else for you.
You don’t want this. And if you said you did now, how could I trust you weren’t doing it just to make me feel better? Because you’re always trying to make me feel better, to make me feel good, to take away my sad. And that’s very sweet. But none of that changes the fact this isn’t what you really want."
And then, after a bit of silence, he got up to go to the bathroom.
And I left.
And he didn’t come after me. Because it’s not in his nature to fight, to chase. It’s just not. And there’s no use wishing he was different than exactly who he is.
And would I want him to be?
I went to the hotel, slept for a bit, woke at midnight and thought and cried and thought and cried until 3:30. Then forced myself to sleep until 7. Now I’m at breakfast, writing this out because I must. It must come out and get down on paper, or it stays inside of me and eats me and puts me in great danger.
I check my heart over and over. Am I being selfish? Am I a spoiled, entitled woman, to think I deserve this with David, to believe I can have this with David? And the answer that comes is no. This is real, and honest, and I must honor my time of grieving. It’s not selfishness. I’m grieving the death of the possibility of something really wonderful.
I Persevere. And life goes on.